Around the Americas is a 25,000 mile sailing circumnavigation of the American continents with the mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging citizens of the Americas to protect our fragile oceans.
The Around the Americas Story:
Sailors for the Sea was founded by David Rockefeller, Jr. , following three years of service on the Pew Oceans Commission. Seeking to follow the successful model of the Surfrider Foundation and Trout Unlimited in which those who enjoy a natural resource are recruited to become protectors of it, David recruited other lifelong sailors to join the board of his new non-profit organization to focus attention on and raise awareness of ocean conservation.
David and Captain Mark Schrader have been engaged in joint sailing expeditions for two decades, and on one occasion when they were sitting dockside in Naples, Italy during a 2006 voyage around the Tyrrhenian Sea, Mark proposed the concept of an Americas circumnavigation that could bring visibility to Sailors for the Sea and its mission to recruit ocean stewards. Thus, the Around the Americas (ATA) expedition was conceived.
The founders felt it was important to link current ocean science research and education to the project. Pacific Science Center, a highly respected educational institution in Seattle that uses engaging hands-on activities to educate and inspire visitors of all ages was recruited to be the science and education partner for Around the Americas. Because of its expertise in curriculum development and informal education, and their history developing bilingual educational materials, PSC was a natural partner with Sailors for the Sea for developing and operating the educational component of the Around the Americas project. In addition, PSC attracted strong science partners to the project that are active in oceanographic and atmospheric research such as the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and the MIT Sea Grant Program.
This unprecedented expedition began on May 31st when Ocean Watch departed Seattle for a daring voyage through the Northwest Passage, a goal few ships have achieved but which is now possible due to rapid warming of the Artic. Ocean Watch will also engage in a challenging passage around Cape Horn before returning to Seattle in June 2010.
The goal of Around the Americas is to connect and engage the public with the 64’ S/V Ocean Watch in the following ways:
- On shore activities in more than 31 port visits
- Maintaining an engaging website that provides information about the expedition and ocean health issues, daily crew logs and photos from Ocean Watch, and free educational curriculum in both English and Spanish
- Local, national and international media coverage
Around the Americas seeks to raise awareness of ocean health issues such as:
- Polar ice melt
- Coral reef health
- Ocean acidification
- Collapsing fisheries
- Ocean debris and pollution
- Changing sea levels and coastal erosion
Around the Americas is made possible by generous lead grants from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Unilever, and the Rockefeller Family. Major support has been provided by James Bishop, Osberg Construction Co, and the Osberg Family Trust.